Lansing City Pulse: Proposed Lansing Casino Would Allow Smoking

The article is here. There’s some good reporting in there (comments from Inter-Tribal Council, a quick survey of the issue of smoking in tribal casinos, a distinction about state law not applying on tribal land, and a discussion of the negotiations around the topic):

“If they did not allow smoking, they wouldn’t be doing any of the business they’re doing now,” said Bill Cross, a partner in the development group, Lansing Future LLC. “If you take that away, it would probably take out 30 percent of the revenue, maybe even higher. That means it would have been a deal-breaker for the city, too.

“Let’s say we’re the only Native American casino in the entire state that doesn’t have smoking: It just makes it an unfair playing field,” he said.

Speaking on the new television show “City Pulse Newsmakers” on Sunday, Mayor Virg Bernero said, “Don’t let perfect become the enemy of good,” acknowledging that while he would have liked to see a smoke-free casino, it was the tribe’s decision.

“In truth, I don’t think this is a perfect proposal. I think if we wait for perfect, we’ll wait for something that may never be,” he said. “There’s lots of things to like about this proposal.”

Bernero said he “didn’t notice a heavy smell” when visiting other casinos where smoking is permitted. “Would I prefer that there was no smoking anywhere indoors? Yeah, I would. But that’s not law in Michigan. To single out Lansing would have put us at a disadvantage.” Bernero added “that’s our view” when asked if requiring the casino to be entirely smoke-free would have been a “deal-killer.”

Mayor Bernero’s Apology for/Denial of Using Racial Slurs in Referring to Lansing Casino Opponents


An excerpt:

He said: “My passionate support for Lansing and our casino project may have gotten the better of me, but none of my remarks were directed toward Native Americans, and nothing I said can fairly be construed as a racial slur, despite our opponent’s attempt to spin it that way. I make no apologies for using strong language against our opponents, who have made some very impertinent remarks about me, but I do offer my heartfelt and sincere apology to any and all who were offended by my choice of words.”

Mayor Bernero Uses Offensive Language When Referring to Opponents of Lansing Casino Proposal

From the LSJ:

LANSING — Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is under fire this morning from a pair of Michigan Indian tribes and a tribal lobbyist who said the mayor made a series of racially insensitive remarks about Native Americans at a fundraiser last week.

The Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi and Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribes, who have come out in strong opposition to a proposed Indian casino in Lansing, said Bernero “repeatedly used profanity and racial slurs in describing the (casino) controversy.”